Fortune magazine began publishing during the Great Depression. The Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center in New York City were built during the same time. Microsoft had a major growth spurt in the downturn of the 1990s.
Yes, things are tough out there. We are clearly in a recession, and you have to act to save your business. The challenge, however, is to balance spending control with the strategic need to invest, innovate and grow your business. Drop the credit crunch on top of this and management loses a lot of sleep.
To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, "when you ain’t got the money, you got to think". While time is money, it is only meaningful if the time is spent earning revenue or cutting expenses. Do both, but focus on earning revenue – hampering the ability of your people to work is stupid, and it annoys them.
So, despite the tough times, and the need to cut spending, now is the time to re-double efforts to produce revenue, now and for the long term. Ad rates have dropped, and business service companies are more likely to be open to some price negotiation, particularly if you will bring work in consistently. Now is the time to get out and in front of people, turning up new business and laying the groundwork for when the economy picks up - which it will.
What now? Go through your marketing message and materials and start dialing/emailing. Join an association, go to meetings and events – be seen as out and about the business community. Write a letter to the editor, and share it with your contact list. To quote the late Andre Meyers of Lazard Freres: "Business, real business, isn’t about money. It’s about people. You have to know and like people."